Support of “cap and trade”?

More and more I have the impression that "the environment" is rapidly becoming the focus of a new age sort of a religion.

I missed this when it came out, from Catholic World News:

Catholic World News (CWN)
Feature Stories
US Catholic hierarchy shows support for legislation requiring massive tax hike
Jun. 26, 2009 ( –

The US bishops have given their enthusiastic support to the Waxman-Markey bill, a piece of legislation designed to address climate change, which Republican opponents have characterized as entailing "the largest tax increase in American history."

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 proposes a complicated series of schemes known as "cap and trade," ultimately imposing taxes on the carbon-dioxide emissions that are cited as a major factor in global warming. Even before the 1,200-page legislation was made available to Congress, the members of the House of Representatives received a letter from two leading representatives of the American Church, giving their strong endorsement for the bill.

Bishop Howard Hubbard, [With due respect to His Excellency, and to the writer, how on earth is Bp. Hubbard a "leading representative of the American Church"?] who chairs the US bishops’ committee on international justice and peace; and Ken Hackett, the president of Catholic Relief Services, welcomed the introduction of the Waxman-Markey bill. They criticized the legislation only because, in their view, it did not include adequate funding to protect the poor– in the US and abroad– [More taxes?] from the bill’s economic impact. Bishop Hubbard and Hackett argued that "the funding resources committed to international adaptation fall fundamentally short of what is needed." Their letter also suggested measures to protect churches and non-profit agencies from the adverse economic effects. [Soooo… ]

By pointing to the ways in which the legislation could harm the economic interests of the poor and the non-profit sector, Bishop Hubbard and Ken Hackett demonstrated that they were aware of the bill’s economic costs. But their letter to Congressmen betrayed no concern at all about how the bill would affect ordinary American families above the poverty level.

The Congressional Budget Office, in its analysis of the legislation, concluded that the Waxman-Markey bill would entail new costs of $770 a year for the average American family. A separate analysis by the Heritage Foundation suggested that this figure was grossly understated, and the actual costs would be closer to $3,000 per year for a typical family of four– rising steadily up to $4,600 by the year 2035. The Heritage analysis added that the bill would increase gasoline prices by 58%, home heating oil by 56%, and electric rates by 90%. The total drag on the economy would likely result in a loss of over 1 million jobs, Heritage concluded. In spite of this enormous cost, the Foundation argued, the Waxman-Markey bill would produce only a miniscule effect on the process of climate change, producing a drop in world temperatures of "only hundredths of a degree Celsius" in the next 40 years. [Would a Magic 8-Ball work better?.]


So, after reading that, go back and look at the title of the article. 

"US Catholic hierarchy shows support for legislation requiring massive tax hike"

Two people are cited.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tom in NY says:

    To some, the environment was always religion. Check out Martin Nilsson’s Geschichte der griechische religion (long in English as “History of Greek Religion”). To go back farther, we know whom the Egyptians worshiped at the time of Moses — nature gods such as the sun and the Nile. Adonai and the Holy Trinity represent a powerful switch in theology and in personal freedom. As to the former, there was a “do ut des” relationship with the deity. As to the latter, God is all-powerful and we share in his divinity. And it should be easy to see the implication for personal freedom.
    Salutationes omnibus.

  2. anson says:

    There may only have been two sources cited in the article, but there are more than two American bishops on board with this. From what I heard in the pew last Sunday, my Archbishop is totally in the tank for this.

  3. Cromagnum says:

    A bumpersticker i saw:

    Every Disaster is a CHANGE

    Its a shame how many people have no clue what thier legislators do.

  4. ChristopherY says:

    The hope is that this won’t make it past the senate. I find the regulation of Carbon emissions both laughable and frightening. Laughable because carbon is not a pollutant, but frightening because as a human I am a net carbon emitter. So is my wife and child. So, in fact are all mammals. Will the goverment attempt to regulate my breathing? Or much worse tell me that I can only have one child or face stiff fines for the carbon emitted by my future children?

  5. mpm says:

    Their letter also suggested measures to protect churches and non-profit agencies from the adverse economic effects. (CWN)

    I saw this CWN notice last Saturday, and practically vomited. Why the USCCB continues to do this kind of “testimony” is beyond me. What exactly is their competence on this “Cap and Trade Bill” — not even the legislators had a chance to actually read it! How can the bishops (even if they had any competency in the matter) have an opinion on what nobody has been able to know?

    And notice, “sounds great!”, but please “protect” our parishes from the “negative effects” of the higher taxation (which will not result). Oh, and by the way, the reason that we have not consulted with any real Catholic laypeople (or others) who work in these areas and might have informed opinions on them is that the only ones who we talk to were off carrying out their ministries!

  6. taad says:

    Someone at the USCCB needs to worry about things like this making more
    poor people out of a middle class that is already taxed and regulated to
    into poverty.

    The collection basket is going to be empty as we pay for all this climate change
    legislation and regulations. No money for bishops appeals or CRS or Catholic
    Charities. Parishes and Schools are also going to be more expensive to operate
    with all these regulations and taxes.

    The church will become even more dependant on the Government to pay for it’s
    social programs. Where is this going to lead?

    The USCCB needs to do a whole lot more analysis before jumping in bed with
    the government.

  7. Rancher says:

    Just a couple of examples of what I fear is the typical Bishops’ liberal and uninformed perspective on most issues. If it is in any way even remotely connected to “social justice” they are all for it whether it accomplishes anything positive or not. Not only do they not read proposed secular legislation it is pretty obvious that they don’t read the even more important documents coming out of Rome. It’s all about feel good subjectivism rather than substance.

  8. MargaretMN says:

    The same thing is happening at the state level here in MN. Some of my conservative protestant freinds showed me a press release proporting to come from the Archdiocese that was asking people to wear black and rally at the capitol against budget cuts (we have a huge budget deficit like a lot of states). When I read the actual press release, it was the same collection of leftwing Christian activists that allways protest any cuts of anything. No bishops’ signatures. For people who don’t like to obey authority, they certainly like to employ it a lot for their causes.

  9. Aaron says:

    “Becoming”? Environmentalism has been the main religion taught in US public schools (and many parochial ones) at least since I was growing up in the late 70s to early 80s. Not to mention the cartoons like Captain Planet that fed us Gaia on a weekly basis.

  10. Gail F says:

    I have seen numerous ads for some sort of Catholic partnership on Climate Control in our local Archdiocesan paper and in the St. Anthony Messenger — anyone know what I’m talking about? I can’t find one right now to cite. I am dismayed that people all over the world are being taken in by this faddish and misguided idea, much less our Catholic bishops! I wish they were as concerned about the state of catechesis in this country.

    As far as social justice goes — cap and trade policies keep poor people poor, and make everyone else poorer while they accomplish absolutely NOTHING. Some justice.

  11. k3vin says:

    It is remarkable how one bishop and one layman amount to the “US hierarchy” while those 70+ pesky shepherds who spoke up against Notre Shame were the “vocal minority of bishops”. Sad, but funny.

  12. MargaretMN says:

    One of the excerpts of the new encyclical that I saw had something about how we need to understand our stewardship of the environment as in service of man, not for its own sake. That can’t be said strongly or enough by enough Christians of all stripes.

  13. mpm says:

    Comment by Rancher — 30 June 2009 @ 8:40 am

    I basically agree with you. IM[H?]O, some of the bishops and their acolytes are no more trained in the intellectual nature of Catholic moral doctrine than the poor kids subject to non-orthodox DRE’s, and I mean that. All part of the “spirit of Vatican II”: Aquinas? We don’t do him anymore! And, in fact they do not!

    The USCCB must certainly need some basic (permanent) staff. Having granted that point, though, why does the Catholic Church in the United States need to have a “committee on international justice and peace”? Doesn’t the Vatican already do international justice and peace?

    They should enlist experts from around the country (and from around the world, if necessary), to act as “advisory committees” for them to consult on the “big issues” which are complex, so that the bishops can see the fault lines, and indicate the proper moral boundaries of these questions. That would be a serious, ongoing effort, that the whole country could benefit from.

    Taking a stance (approval or condemnation, but especially approval) on a particular bill seems to me completely opposed to the true nature of the Church, unless that bill is so immoral, that it would have to be condemned.

    The problem with “approving” a particular bill is that there may be many approaches that are consistent with the true and the good, and the bill is just one of them; whereas if it is a bill contradictory to the true and the good, it can only be condemned.

  14. Dennis says:

    Of course these bishops like all good liberals are for higher taxes if they are protected from having to pay it but throw us poor slobs to the dogs– let’s see their reaction when the take at the collection plate goes down and their bishops appeal begins to dry up.

  15. Jim of Bowie says:

    The USCCB should keep to matters theological rather than supporting the biggest scam ever perpetrated on the American people. It is not a religion, even with the liberals. It is a scheme to give them more taxes and power.

  16. Tom says:

    Fine, if the bishops want to become hacks for the political left (if, that is, there really is widespread support for this horrible law amongst the bishops), I’ll absorb that $770 tax by refraining from putting anything in the collection basket, where some of it goes to pay for the diocesan establishment.

    Instead, I’ll give my charity dollars to institutions and groups that do not despise the working middle class of this country.

  17. Jerry says:

    “Heaven & Earth: Global Warming – The Missing Science”

    This is a new book to be released in the U.S. on July 1 by a prominent Australian earth scientist, Ian Plimer. This book has thrown a big monkey wrench into efforts in Australia to pass “cap & trade” legislation. In its 493 pages and 2,311 footnotes it handily debunks the arguments about CO2 being harmful to the environment.

    Here are links to Australian columnists who have reviewed the book, one of whom was a former global warming believer until this book.

    “Sceptic Spells Doom for Alarmists”,25197,25348644-5013596,00.html

    “Planet Doomsayers Need a Cold Shower”

    “Beware the Climate of Conformity”

  18. RBrown says:

    Although I’m not a big Global Warming fan (whose long term extrapolations are, acc to Michael Crichton, a form of fortune telling), I think it’s good to encourage the use of alternative sources of energy. I also think it’s good to develop an alternative to the internal combustion engine.

    Having said that, I would much prefer that tax credits be used for this. I am–sadly–not surprised that the bill is yet another way for the Dems to raise taxes.

    And there is of course the question whether this new bill would encourage more outsourcing and cause unemployment.

  19. Ken says:

    The support was on behalf of USCCB. Therefore, it is speaking for the bishops’ conference. Can’t fault the media on this one. When traditionalists get a rare victory by Cardinal Hoyos, etc., that is characterized as The Vatican Speaking.

    The solution is to make some serious changes at USCCB, or dissolve the organization altogether.

  20. moon1234 says:

    Think about what Cap and Trade will really do. It centralizes power to the government. The government can then direct private industry to go in the direction that government wants.

    Private industry is not going to suffer as they will just pass on the new “tax” to you and me. That is the great fallacy of that so many of the sheeple just swollow.

    “We will tax big oil” and the sheeple cheer “We will provide health care for everyone (whether you want it or not)” and the sheeple cheer. So the story goes. The sheeple are just like sheep. They only see what is directly in front of them. The do not see the wolves on the sidelines who are ready to devour them. Only as they are being eaten do they realize they made a great mistake.

    Make no mistake. The machinations the current US Administration are using are Facist principals designed to recreate a situation similar to Germany in the 20’s and 30’s. We all know what happened in the 40’s. The difference this time is that they are trying to centralize power around the world. The Europen Union is a good example.

    Cap and Trade is nothing more than a scheme by the government elite to control private enterprise. I don’t understand how any Bishop could support such a repressive policy. If the government really wanted to have tougher emissions laws, then pass emissions laws. What good is it to allow companies to “Trade” pollution “Credits” and then call that a “CAP” on emissions?

    Why not just set clear levels that each industry must meet by a certain date and leave it up to private enterprise to design those systems? That is the way to spur innovation and not thru cap and trade.

  21. Mark says:

    Why is it that as the Pope’s encyclical approaches, this blog has become increasingly political?

    I love the posts on traditional liturgy, theology, morality, society, etc…but when these economic things start getting pushed, it becomes easier to see how the liberals can accuse orthodox Catholics of having just become another manifestation of “conservative” politics.

  22. Mark says:

    “The solution is to make some serious changes at USCCB, or dissolve the organization altogether.”

    I should be disbanded.

    It is unnatural to the constitution of the Church, which has the bishop as the monarchical authority in his diocese, and the Pope in the Church universal. The bishop handling internal local matters, the Pope handling matters that cross diocesan borders. The bishop as the sovereign “State” government and the Pope as the sovereign “Federal” per divine institution, with mediate levels of subdiary jurisdiction that have developed over the centuries, more or less important (archbishop of a province, primate of a nation, head of a sui juris church, patriarch of a rite) that ultimately derive as delegations from the universal authority to handle particular subsets of dioceses to varying degrees.

    If the US bishops are going to all decide something collegially for the US as a whole, it should be in a Plenary Council, under the presidency of the de facto primate, the archbishop of Baltimore. This properly represents the Catholic model of communion.

    It should definitely NOT be a standing committee with a rotating elected president. That is totally untraditional and artificial. At that point, you might as well allow for competing episcopal organizations to form, with dioceses able to choose and change which they want to belong to regardless of regional contiguousness or organic organizational logic (ie, the different diocese of a province might belong to different organizations, which themselves might be made up of dioceses from several different countries, etc). And, voila, you basically have Episcopalianism! That would obviously be a total disaster and an affront to the traditional understanding of the constitution of the Church vis a vis the local and universal authorities.

    Imagine if instead of governing the US by State governments for their internal issues and the Federal government for issues involving multiple states…there was instead a distant Federal government, theoretically supreme, but allowing most of the day to day business proper to it (ie, involving more than one state) to be handled by a committee of all the State governors.

    This is an unnatural extrapolation of the local authority, which is inherently specific. This governor is governor of this state, that governor is governor of that state. This bishop is bishop of this dioceses, that bishop is bishop of that dioceses. Collectively, they should not be viewed as collectively having general power over all dioceses. Their mandate and jurisdiction is individually specific.

    Without reference to the universal authority (which a plenary council under a Primate shows, but a standing committee with elected president does not)…a collection of local bishops is still just a collection of individual local bishops, with no collective authority to bind the group collectively (merely to voluntarily cooperate) except by intervention of the universal authority or one of its lower level delegates.

    And yet the USCCB does act like it speaks as a collective authority over the US, instead of merely a group of individual local authorities. Can a bishop opt out of the USCCB? I hope so. And yet, if bishops could opt out, it seems they could also form their own voluntary association, regardless of provincial and national boundries, and there you have episcopalianism again. It is only the monopoly or charter that the Vatican has seemingly granted the USCCB that prevents it.

    In the end, it hurts the universal/federal authority by making it look like is is not different in nature, but rather just derived from the local authorities. It provides a parallel model for universal authority that suggests that could be merely a collection of all local authorities, instead of something different in nature entirely. As if all the bishops of the world collectively (even without the Pope) would have generic authority, collectively, over all the dioceses in the world, when really they would still only have specific authority over each of their specific dioceses (like a collection of cells that, without a soul, does not form a united organism).

  23. MargaretMN says:

    Mark, it’s important to think about “conservative” politics, just like “liberal” politics as a coalition of people with different view on different issues. It’s important for Catholics to be represented in all movements but it’s getting increasingly difficult for them to be represented anywhere. The “progressive left” agenda has too many non-negotiables on it for an orthodox Catholic (who isn’t making sophistry a career) to become comfortable with it, even if the conservative agenda has a few on it that give us pause. And right now, the Conservative agenda is open to revision, which is a good time to become involved in a discussion. On the Liberal side, most of “our” issues are settled issues. Climate Change and what if anything to do about it has a more open discussion going on in Conservative circles. Among Liberals, it’s a done deal and the only question is how much, government, taxes, resources, should we devote to it.

  24. EDG says:

    moon1234 – Another point is that “Cap and Trade” would create a truly huge government bureaucracy, and coupled with everything else, we will have unprecedented numbers of Americans working for the state. This was a condition that existed in Germany at the time of the rise of Hitler and in fact is one of the things that made it so easy for him; so many Germans were already government employees, and so used to conforming their lives to what the government wanted of them and seeing the government as their provider, that Hitler had to do very little to build up that aspect of his dictatorship.

  25. Russ says:

    Control of the banking/lending system – check

    Control of the automotive industry – check

    Control of the energy system – in progress

    Control of the medicine system – in progress

    So – as long as you don’t want a loan, drive a car, use energy, or need health care – you are free in these United States of America. Otherwise you’d better do what the One says.

  26. Ken says:

    Mark — it also depends on your definition of conservative. Neo-conservatives, such as the editors of the Weekly Standard and Commentary (and, increasingly, National Review), have very little in common with the Old Right and paleo-conservatives. The former group supports war in Iraq, war in Iran, war in North Korea, war elsewhere, etc. The latter is generally anti-war, except for defense. (And this is just one issue.)

    In Catholic circles, the Michael Novak and Deal Hudson side (conservative, but not traditional, Catholics) tend to be more neo-conservative, while traditional Catholics (The Remnant, Catholic Family News, Chronicles, The American Conservative, Pat Buchanan, etc.) are overwhelmingly paleo-conservatives.

    So, it\’s not as easy as a conservative versus liberal label. My wild guess is that readers of this blog are around 60% paleo-con, 30% neo-con and 10% moderate-liberal.

  27. opey124 says:

    The letter said “On behalf of the Bishops” although it was the committee of International Justice and Peace. It was my understanding that they, the Bishops, have to give approval before these statements are made. PLEASE tell me I am wrong.

  28. ssoldie says:

    I would very much like to get rid of the USCCB, anybody out there with me?

  29. Latekate says:

    Cap and trade is just looting. There is no proof that Global Warming exists, if it does it has been a recurring cycle so attributing it to humanity is also unproven. There are thousands of scientists who do not agree with the “Global Warming Consensus” but their views are not aired in the MSM. It is a manufactured “crisis”.It amazes me how many young people have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. I think they just need a religion and they think that eco-worship is it.

    Green is the new red. Since communism has gotten a bad rap after murdering and tyrannizing millions the same collectivism is now clothed in the “for mother earth” excuse.It provides convenient excuses for the seizure of private property and control of people by other people.
    Eco-worship is indeed a religion. As are state worship, animal worship, celebrity worship.

  30. TJM says:

    I think we should unionize the USCCB so they are totally in sink with the Abortion Party aka Democratic Party. Thanks for posting this Father Z. I will NEVER give another dime to support this left-wing loon organization. I feel sorry for the Catholic bishops who are a part of this un-Catholic group. Tom

  31. TJM says:

    Bishop Hubbard is a very suspect bishop. You can read about him in Roman Catholic Faithful. You will be shocked. Tom

  32. Mark is certainly not imagining things when he observes that this blog has taken a p;olitical turn (and a right wing one at that) since the Encyclical drew nigh.

    Where does our faith come into this?

    In my opinion there is a danger that concern for the environment could develop into some kind of a New Age religion. We see this with groups such as animal rights activists who will put the life of a seal or a beaver ahead of the welfare of human beings.

    That said, there is evidence of climate change already, most especialy with the measurable melting of the Polar ice caps. There still is some dispute as to how much this is just a natural cyclical phenomenon and how much it is caused by carbon emissions. However, it is worth noticing that one of the most progressive States in the world in terms of reducing emissions is the Vatican.

    But sadly, on this thread the issue seems to be more about paying taxes along with more fear about the government turning into Big Brother.

    Certainly no one likes to pay taxes but really, they are a part of the cost of living. I, for one, get very suspicious when politicians keep referring to me as a taxpayer. I feel that they are trying to appeal to my baser instincts. I have watched conservative governemnts lower taxes. Often a lot of harm is done to worthy programs while the actual tax cut, while sounding big, comes out to about enough for an ice cream cone a week for the average middle class family – and they always say it’s for us middle class.

    I am a person! I am a citizen! These are noble titles. Terms like taxpayer and consumer are not noble titles. They are utilitarian. For me to live in reasonable security and comfort I must pay taxes. That’s life!

    I’m old enough to have noticed that when economic conservatives start going on about the govenment gouging taxpayers and how they, the conservatives, would do things differently it is time to watch out. My reasonale secuity and comfirt are in danger. And all for an extra ice cream cone a week.

  33. Latekate says:

    Global warming petition project (do not agree with Global Warming “Consensus”/crisis: 37,478 scientists (9,029 with PhD’s)

    AR4 climate Change Consensus (agree with Global warming “crisis”): 3,750 scientists

  34. MJS says:

    Considering “the environment” = “the world,” why are so many traditionalists (on this blog at least) dismissive of efforts to protect the enviromnent? It must be political. In their minds, environmentalist = Democrat and Democrat = abortion rights advocate, and so it’s guilt by association. Granted the pro-choice lobby and the environmental lobby probably overlap pretty closely, but these are two different issues. If you still have doubts about climate-change, check out the June 29 issue of the New Yorker. We’re falling off the cliff – the only question is how quickly. And cap-and-trade won’t make a bit of difference. The problem is much more urgent than that.

  35. Fr. AJ says:

    MJS the New Yorker is a real serious scientific journal eh? You say we are “falling off a cliff” how so? The average temmperature of the planet has dropped over the past 10 years, hardly the end the world as we know it. On a large scale, we are actually still coming out of the last ice age. This is idea that the enviros have that the world is somehow stagnant and nothing should ever change is laughable and a real display of ignorance of the geologic history of the planet. The world is dynamic and we have only scratched the surface to understand God’s creation and we certainly do not and cannot control the temperature of the earth. It’s all a scam to raise taxes and get money to fund programs.

  36. Stuart says:

    “The average temmperature of the planet has dropped over the past 10 years”


  37. Latekate says:

    Sorry, but data produced by the very people who want to create a “crisis” in order to tax and regulate people out of their property is the problem here. Do you have any scientific data from an independent source? Scientists not subordinate to tax dollars in some way?

    It never fails to amaze how people who are scared to death of their neighbor eating or drinking the wrong things, leaving “carbon footprints”, or embracing the “wrong” ideology have absolutely NO fear of the same fallen human beings having unlimited power of aggression over all.

    This begging for your rulers to chain up those who offend your ideas of what is “best for all” will be used on you someday (live by the sword, die by the sword).

  38. Evan says:

    I’m livid, absolutely livid! How dare this jolly joker of a bishop and his minion volunteer to sacrifice us on the altar of “Mother Earth” for money! That’s it, that does it, I will never again give one red cent to the Catholic Church or it’s charities ever again and I will do everyghing I can to encourage others to also withold their contributions, permenantly! Want money, fine, make with the loaves and fishes and conjure it up yourselves!

    [I respect your frustration. But do not forget that there are very good causes which we can indeed support. We do have an obligation to give our material support to the Church as we are able.]

  39. Greta says:

    It makes it easy when the bishops list their names for those who support this cap and tax program to clearly see those who must be drained of all funding. make sure that these bishops pay your utility bill increases and for the increased price of everything else by not giving a dime into their dioceses.

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